Before the High Court, ADIF contended that Google was establishing a scheme known as “User Choice Billing” (UCB), which will take effect on April 26, in an effort to evade the CCI directive.
The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) filed cases on Monday contesting Google’s new in-app user choice Billing (UCB) policy, and the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to review the applications. The ruling was issued by Justice Tushar Rao Gedela sitting alone on a single judge’s bench. He directed the CCI to rule on the complaint and give a directive to the tech giant to put the matter on hold until the CCI decides on before April 26.
CONTENTION FROM BOTH THE PARTIES
- The Appellant claimed that Google had previously required app developers to utilise its Google Play Billing System (GPBS) payment system for all transactions, including in-app purchases and paid app downloads.This GPBS apparently featured a 45-day settlement time and a 15–30% commission.However, the CCI fined Google in October 2022 and ordered it to permit the use of third-party billing providers for in-app purchases. Additionally, they claimed that Google is trying to evade the CCI directive by implementing a rule known as “User Choice Billing” (UCB), which would take effect on April 26. The UCB is a disguised version of the GPBS that pretends to give app developers the freedom to choose third-party payment processors..However, even if a user uses one of these third-party payment processors, Google will still charge the developers a service fee of 11-26%. Because of this, Google can continue to exploit its dominating position in the market.Due to its anti-competitive practises, Google is taking advantage of the CCI’s lack of quorum in order to injure other app developers in the market irreparably and distort the market.
- The defendant claimed that Google had previously required app developers to use its Google Play Billing System (GPBS) payment system for all transactions, including in-app purchases and paid app downloads. However, the Alphabet-owned business announced significant changes to its user choice billing in January 2023. When customers buy in-app digital content, developers can provide them the option of using a different billing system in addition to Google Play’s own through user-choice billing.
ANALYSIS OF THE COURT DECISION
A single Bench of delhi high court Justice Tushar Rao Gedela stated that directed the CCI to rule on the complaint and give a directive to the tech giant to put the matter on hold until the CCI decides on before April 26.